Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cute Christianity

The above is a representation of some of the stickers you can find out there... others say things like "Smile! Jesus loves you!" and "Jesus loves you, but I'm His favorite" and some other, more disturbing things.

What have I got against stickers? Nothing. I love them. What do I have against Jesus loving us? Nothing at all, it's what keeps me going.

Then what is this post about??

Good question. See... the more I've learned about who God is... the more I've come to realize (and the more I realize the more I learn how much more there is to realize) how very awesome He is, and how absolutely crazy it is that HE loves us... the more repugnant this sort of "Cute" Christianity has become.

God is not cute. He is awesome, holy, terrible, just--and yes, loving. His love for us is not cute: it's insane. Why He would chose to love us--at such a terrible cost to Himself (He died. God. He died. Yes... God died.) is beyond my--perhaps even beyond human--comprehension. Why doesn't it doesn't shock us more?? Why doesn't it bring us to our knees in tears of wonder and repentance and humility? For one thing, I suppose, we are sinful humans. That accounts for a lot.

Another problem is we've allowed it to be come common place, expected, cute.

Of course God loves me! All the stickers say it! All the cute Sunday school songs say it! That's what some smiling Sunday school teacher lady said when I was five!

And we think it's nice. Yep, up in heaven somewheres, there's a God, and He loves me. Isn't that sweet? Fuzzy feelings everywhere... here's a sticker for you, too!

This sort of "oh, God loves me, everything will be just dandy" thinking is rather like... spraying perfume on gangrene to try and make it smell better. It's cute, and it may help (superficially) for a few seconds... but your foot is still rotting and threatening to kill you.

God loves you, alright.

But not the gushy, sweet-talking, here-is-a-chocolate-to-make-you-feel-better kind of love.

We're talking the kind of love that would cut off that rotting foot in order to save your life. The kind of love that screams in your face that you're going the wrong way and death is imminent. The kind of love... that allows pain and heartache into your life to bring about a greater good: knowing Him more.

The kind of love that dies for you.

So yes, Jesus loves you. But please, please don't take it for granted. Don't just put it on a cute little sticker.

Let it sink in deep. Ponder how incredible it is that our awesome Creator God died for you--out of love. Let it move you and change you. No more of this chirping "God loves you!" in a syrupy, fake-happy voice.

No... whisper it in your heart.

He... loves... me.


  1. That's beautiful. Very well put. Although I actually have no direct aversion to the phrase "Smile, Jesus loves you." I understand what you mean in other things, specifically Sunday school.

  2. Yay! A comment!! :D

    Thank you! :)

    Right, it isn't the phrase so much as it is the goofy smileys. :D haha. (Well, actually it's more the attitude behind it, of course.)

  3. The too-cutesy phrasing that I've encountered more often than simply "Jesus loves you" is "God loves you just the way you are" (though your phrase "in a syrupy, fake-happy voice" is spot-on); my answer to that is generally "God loves you just the way you are, but he loves you too much to let you stay that way." (Remembering C.S. Lewis's image of the believer as a house and God as the new owner undertaking renovations.)

    The real trouble, I suspect, is that when we say "love" we tend to think first of romantic love---and not even that per se, but its typical superficial qualities, rather like thinking that the point of food is to taste good, instead of to nourish. And we get this idea that if God loves us, it must be because we somehow deserve to be loved, which is precisely backwards: because God loves us, by his inexplicable and free choice, we are becoming something lovely and worth loving.

    (Sorry for the tangents ..)

  4. *nods* Yes, that bothers me too... excellent response!!

    Right, that does seem to be part of the problem.

    "And we get this idea that if God loves us, it must be because we somehow deserve to be loved, which is precisely backwards: because God loves us, by his inexplicable and free choice, we are becoming something lovely and worth loving."

    Exactly! Well put. :)

    (Oh that's fine, I like tangents of that sort!)

  5. Thank you for posting this, Carissa. This is what annoys me so much about normal children's songs nowadays. They exasperate me to death. :P

    God is our lover... but His love is so much much more than what we think of as love. He has a crush on us: He's obsessed with us, He can't stop thinking about us. But that love is based and founded on something vaster and deeper than we can comprehend.

    God died for us. God stays with us.

    Just think about those two things... and stand in awe.

  6. You're quite welcome. Thank you for commenting on it. :D Haha, yes, exactly. :P

    *nods* Yes... Amazing. (Vast understatement, that.) I've been thinking about this a lot... it is incredible.

    *smiles* I will and I do.